I've just spent a few days singing songs for people at Southmead and Cossham Hospitals, and it has been so lovely!
I played in various wards, bays, corridors and rooms, including Dialysis, Geriatric wards and in the Trauma unit. There was lots of singing along, laughter, dancing, tapping and some lovely conversations sparked through the music. Music can change the atmosphere in a hospital, and have such an impact on patients and staff.
Some very memorable moments while I was there... I was singing a Bob Dylan song in the brain trauma unit, and one lady held her husband's face in her hands and sang every word to him, with tears streaming down her face. One man hated having his meds, but as we played music to him, he relaxed, his blood pressure dropped, and he barely even noticed the nurse give him injections. One lady asked for 'Fly Me To The Moon' and then cried the whole way through. She said afterwards it had 'made her feel better inside'. I sang 'Jingle Bells' with another lady, and she was so happy and said it had really cheered her up. One amazing moment was with a lady who was trying to stand with crutches and get her foot off the floor in her physio exercises. She said she had been trying for a long time. We sang a lively round of ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and bopped around with her – and without her even trying or noticing, her foot was off the ground and she was dancing! I sang for a few people and their families in end of life care - that was very emotional. Silent Night was requested by one family, and we ended up with a choir in their room that spread down the corridor, with patients in their beds and staff singing along together by the end! The staff were brilliant, as always - and some followed us round singing and dancing down the corridors.
Massive thanks to Live Music Now and Southmead's fantastic Fresh Arts programme for funding these visits - they do so many amazing things for patient/staff wellbeing, and it's a privilege to work with them!